Animation: Solving Israeli-Palestinian Conflict By Ari Rusila

December 24, 2015

 

Solving Israeli-Palestinian Conflict by Ari Rusila - https://arirusila.wordpress.com

Solving Israeli-Palestinian Conflict by Ari Rusila – https://arirusila.wordpress.com


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Analysis: Resolving The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

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From Rojava to Ramallah: The trappings of statehood – Opinion – Jerusalem Post

December 20, 2015

Kurdisatan Middle East

What the Palestinians can learn from the Kurdish success story.

Source: From Rojava to Ramallah: The trappings of statehood – Opinion – Jerusalem Post


Putin Against Anti-Semitism

December 17, 2015

img585890Russian President Vladimir Putin continues his fight against anti-Semitism. According Arutz Sheva , at the initiative of President Putin, the Duma (Russian Parliament) has legislated a law outlawing “distorted and/or extremist” commentary of Scriptures. The purpose of the unusual law, it is widely understood, is the prevention of cynical advantage being taken of Biblical verses for anti-Semitic purposes.

Cynical person might say that this act is just a tactical political statement, but I think this law and the interest in it are real. Putin, a former KGB agent, has long been known to oppose anti-Semitism, and violent attacks against Jews in his country have in fact been on the decline in recent years. He also conducts warm relations with Israel – even as he does the same with Iran.

Rabbi Berel Lazar, Chief Rabbi of Russia, said that the law is truly important in the fight against Russian anti-Semitism. He publicly thanked “my friend President Putin who bodily blocks all anti-Semitic phenomena” and the members of the Duma for “proving that Russia respects the beliefs of all its citizens.”

Even Putin is incapable of wiping out a thousand years of Russian anti-Semitic tradition, however he has long been fighting against it.

 

Background of anti-Semitism in USSR/Russia

Russia and Soviet Union has as a long, sordid, and bloody history of anti-Semitism. The Russian Czars enacted anti-Semitic legislation, subjecting the Jews to inferior status and forcing them to live in the pale of settlement far away from the large cities.

The word ‘pogram’ originated in Russia and refers to violent attacks by non-Jews on Jews in the Russian Empire. The first such incident is believed to have occurred in Odessa in 1821. Some Russians blamed Jews for the assassination of Tsar Alexander II (1881) which triggered pogroms and local economic conditions were attributed to Jewish money lending practices. Pogroms led many Jews to reassess life in the Russian Empire and many emigrated to the United States and Palestine.

JewsUKRAntisemitism in the Soviet Union reached new heights after 1948 during the campaign against the “rootless cosmopolitan”, in which numerous Yiddish-writing poets, writers, painters and sculptors were killed or arrested. This culminated in the so-called “Doctors’ trials”, in which a group of doctors (some of whom were Jewish) had allegedly conspired to murder Stalin.

USSR’s relations with Israel had been severed in 1967 because of the Six-Day War. Although Soviet Premier Leonid Brezhnev denounced anti-Semitism in a speech on February 22, 1981, the real change in relations began with an episode in 1988 when in southern Russia, a group of bandits seized a bus carrying school children and demanded an airplane to fly to Israel. To the terrorists’ surprise, the Israeli authorities immediately returned them to the Soviet government. This incident significantly accelerated the process of restoring relations between the countries.

While the anti-Semitism that existed as official state policy during the Soviet era has not resurfaced, some prominent political figures, particularly those associated with the Communist party, have employed anti-Semitism to further their own political ambitions. Scapegoating Jews as the source of Russia’s economic and social problems become increasingly common on both the national and local levels of the late 90’s.

 

Putin as philo-Semitic leader

Vladimir Putin would appear to be one of the more philo-Semitic leaders in Russian history.

The rise of Putin began in 1999 with the war in the Caucasus, when the decisive prime minister took a hard line against the separatists and Islamic radicals in Chechnya. He remodeled his actions on Israel, which has always declared that softness or flexibility toward terrorists can only lead to an escalation of the violence. The same approach was taken after the year 2000 when terrorists seized the theater in Moscow and the school in Beslan.

Jewish museumbOne example of the good health of Jewish society in Putin-era Russia is Moscow’s new [est. 2012] Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center – probably the largest Jewish history museum in the world. Mr. Putin has extended his personal support to the lavish project, donating a month’s salary for its construction, which cost around $50 million. The construction of a massive monument to Jewish identity would seem to be a pretty strange thing for an anti-Semite to do.

On 9th July 2014 President Putin met Russia’s Chief Rabbi Berel Lazar, to discuss joint efforts to combat anti-Semitism and neo-Nazism. The meeting was also attended by rabbis from Israel, Austria, Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and France. The parties discussed joint efforts to prevent the “rewriting of history”: the fight against neo-Nazism and neo-fascism, as well as xenophobia and anti-Semitism. Putin assured the Jewish leaders that Russia will fight against any new manifestations of Nazism. Berel Lazar stated his views as follows:

“It is in Russia that people are genuinely concerned about the threat of neo-Nazism, Holocaust denial and revisionist approaches to World War II. Many leaders in different countries prefer to keep quiet about it, but here in Russia the matter is openly addressed. Tomorrow we fly to Sevastopol, where we will once again remember the 6 million [Jews] that died… for us, it is very gratifying to see how it is in Russia, a country where the Jewish way of life was previously banned, that such a dynamic Jewish community exists now. We are grateful to the government for its support and for the fight against anti-Semitism.

Putin-with-JewsMany Jewish institutions were founded and flourished under Mr. Putin’s administration and many Jewish leaders, not all of them Putin-supporters, claim that he had little tolerance for the inbred Russian anti-Semitism. In a Russia which is facing a demographic crisis of negative growth, Putin certainly views the emigration of an estimated two million Jews, to Israel, North American and Germany, as a net loss of highly-educated and productive citizens. His government has set and supported a number of official and semi-official organizations whose objective is to maintain contact with these expatriates and if possible, persuade them to return to the rodina. The Foreign Ministry has even begun financing Jewish cultural events for Russian Jews around the world, such as a Hanukah party in Berlin.

Putin’s warm relations with the Jewish community in his country have long been a matter of curiosity. Some say it is because of his many Jewish friends and neighbors when he was a child. One story even has it that a Jewish family befriended him when he was a poor child in St Petersburg whose parents were barely ever home. Another story relates that years later, as Vice-Mayor of that city, Putin stuck his neck out to give permission for the opening of a Jewish school in the city, even though it was not in his authority to do so.

Jewish-Museum-and-Tolerance-Center-03comp

Bottom line

Putin’s government has long been playing the Soviet nostalgia card. In television documents, articles etc the Soviet past was made to seem glorious. The annexation of Crimea, air-strikes and regional cooperation in Syria and international cooperation with Iran nuke program have restored Russia’s geopolitical role; many writers and politicians now openly call for the revival of the Soviet Union. However the pining for the Soviet past has not had a significant anti-Semitic component.

There actually doesn’t seem to be any large-scale anti-Semitism in Russian society today. And opinion polls made by The Levada-Center show that Russians are positively disposed towards Israel.

RUSISR

 

The government level cooperation and mutual understanding of each others strategic interests between Russia and Israel seems to be fair and interactive. During the war in southern Lebanon in 2006, when Israeli special forces showed their Russian colleagues the markings on Russian shells that had been supplied to Syria and then transferred to Hezbollah, Moscow investigated and temporarily suspended its deal with Syria. On the eve of the war between Russia and Georgia, Moscow informally warned Israel that active military cooperation with Tbilisi could backfire, and Israel curtailed its involvement. Israel’s evolving relationship with Russia was also highlighted in the Netanyahu government’s decision not to vote on a 27th March 2014 UN General Assembly resolution on the situation in Crimea.

Israel’s generally cooperative relationship with Russia makes sense e.g. based on the large and politically influential Russian-speaking population in Israel, growing economic ties including a proposed free trade agreement, substantial tourism (Russia is second after the United States as a source of 600,000 tourists who visited Israel last year) and similarly unconstrained approaches to combating Islamic extremist terrorism that has led to tacit support for one another’s policies, including Russia’s wars in Chechnya. Vladimir Putin has made two visits to Israel as Russia’s president — double the number of trips by US President Barack Obama.

Recent meetings between Putin and Netanyahu, military co-ordination in the skies over Syria and closer economic ties appear to be strengthening the relations between the two countries. However the Russia’s fight against anti-Semitism will create real content to fair cooperation at grassroots too.

Presidents Putin and Peres

Presidents Putin and Peres jointly unveiled the, Victory monument in the coastal city of Netanya/Israel honoring the Soviet soldiers who freed central and eastern Europe from Nazism and liberated the German death camps in occupied Poland. | Photo credit: The World Jewish Congress

Article originally appeared in Conflicts by Ari Rusila

 

 

 

 

 

 


WikiLeaks published New Secret TiSA Documents

December 15, 2015

wlogo-smWikiLeaks has released new secret documents from the huge Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA) which is being negotiated by the US, EU and 22 other countries that account for 2/3rds of global GDP.   WikiLeaks has also published expert analyses of the documents.

From WikiLeaks press release:

 

The Trade In Services Agreement is the largest trade treaty of its kind in history. The economies of the 52 countries involved in the negotiation, which is being led by the United States, are mostly the supply of services. According to World Bank figures, services comprise 75% of the EU economy, 80% of the US economy and the majority of the global economy.  Notably excluded in the TiSA negotiations are the emerging economies and the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa).

The “Energy Related Services Annex Proposal: Questions and Answers” document sets out TiSA designs to create an international market in energy-related services for foreign suppliers. While heads of state prepare to sign climate accords in Paris, TiSA negotiators are meeting behind closed doors in Geneva to forge new limits on energy regulation.

The “Annex on Environmental Services” reveals that TiSA will aim to ensure that national environmental protections within TiSA countries will be “harmonized down”, promoting the interests of multinational companies providing water purification, sanitation and refuse disposal services over worker safety, public health and the natural environment. Assessing the agreement, Friends of the Earth calls TiSA “an environmental hazard”, pointing out that public services of an environmentally sensitive nature are in danger of being privatized. Commenting on the “Annex on Road Freight Transport and Related Logistical Services”, the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) calls TiSA a “race to the bottom,” observing that the Annex joins other Annexes published by WikiLeaks to form an overarching trade liberalization agenda, fragmenting the trucking industry, opening up sensitive areas of the transport sector to international competition, and contributing to the ongoing privatization of public services, undercutting workers’ rights, public health and safety, and the ability of national governments to plan and direct their own industrial and infrastructural development.

While the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Pact (TTIP) have received attention, the TiSA is the largest component of the United States’ “Big Three,” the triumvirate of strategic neoliberal trade deals being advanced by the Obama administration. Together, the three treaties form not only a new legal order hospitable for transnational corporations, but a new economic “grand enclosure”, which excludes China and all other BRICS countries.

WikiLeaks-Global-Trade-Agreement-Triangulation-sm

And here the new documents:

December TiSA Publication

TiSA Texts
December publication of Chapters and Annexes of the TiSA text under negotiation.
Document Document Date WikiLeaks Publication Date
Energy Related Services (ERS) Annex Proposal: Questions and Answers December 2014 December 03, 2015
TiSA – Energy Related Services (Proposal by Norway/Iceland) December 03, 2015
Expert analysis on Energy Related Services (ERS) Annex December 03, 2015
Annex on Environmental Services December 2014 December 03, 2015
Expert analysis on Trade in Environmental Services Annex December 03, 2015
Annex on Road Freight Transport and Related Logistics Services July 30, 2015 December 03, 2015
Expert Analysis on Road Freight Transport and Related Logistics Services. December 03, 2015

And here the documents published earlier:

July TiSA Publication


June TiSA Publication

TiSA Texts
Chapters and Annexes of the TiSA text under negotiation.

Document Document Date WikiLeaks Publication Date
TiSA Annex on Air Transport Services February 9, 2015 June 3, 2015
Analysis of TiSA Annex on Air Transport Services June 3, 2015
TiSA Annex on Competitive Delivery Services April 16, 2014 June 3, 2015
Analysis of TiSA Annex on Delivery Services June 3, 2015
TiSA Annex on Domestic Regulation February 20, 2015 June 3, 2015
Analysis of TiSA Annex on Domestic Regulation June 3, 2015
TiSA Annex on Electronic Commerce February 20, 2015 June 3, 2015
Analysis of TiSA Annex on Electronic Commerce June 3, 2015
TiSA Annex on International Maritime Transport Services February 10, 2015 June 3, 2015
Analysis of TiSA Annex on International Maritime Transport Services June 3, 2015
TiSA Annex on Movement of Natural Persons February 13, 2015 June 3, 2015
TiSA Annex on Professional Services February 13, 2015 June 3, 2015
TISA Annex on Telecommunications Services February 20, 2015 June 3, 2015
TiSA Annex on Financial Services February 23, 2015 June 3, 2015
Analysis of TiSA Annex on Financial Servicess June 3, 2015
TiSA Annex on Transparency January 23, 2015 June 3, 2015
Analysis of TiSA Annex on Transparency June 3, 2015
TiSA Annex on Transparency April 16, 2014 June 3, 2015
TiSA Annex on Financial Services April 14, 2014 June 19, 2014
Analysis of TiSA Annex on Financial Services June 19, 2014
TiSA Market Analyses
Market Access Negotiations documents are requests for a schedule of commitments from one of the negotiating Parties to another.
Document Document Date WikiLeaks Publication Date
TiSA Market Access – Israel January 25, 2015 June 3, 2015
TiSA Market Access – Turkey January 25, 2015 June 3, 2015
TiSA Related Documents
Other documents related to the TiSA negotiation process.
Document Document Date WikiLeaks Publication Date
TiSA Cover Note TPC (EU reservations) February 19, 2015 June 3, 2015
TiSA Japan Analysis of Committed Related Provisions February 9, 2015 June 3, 2015
TiSA Japan Separate From And Accountable February 16, 2015 June 3, 2015
TiSA Japan UPU Clarification on USO November 28, 2014 June 3, 2015

Defense experts back IDF’s 2014 Gaza campaign, claim critics are invoking wrong set of laws | The Times of Israel

December 13, 2015

Report by international High Level Military Group blasts UN commission, says Israel set a standard no other army could match

Source: Defense experts back IDF’s 2014 Gaza campaign, claim critics are invoking wrong set of laws | The Times of Israel

A shell lies on the ground at the heavily damaged Sobhi Abu Karsh school in Gaza City’s Shejaiya neighborhood, a Hamas stronghold, Tuesday, August 5, 2014. (Mohammed Abed/AFP)

A shell lies on the ground at the heavily damaged Sobhi Abu Karsh school in Gaza City’s Shejaiya neighborhood, a Hamas stronghold, Tuesday, August 5, 2014. (Mohammed Abed/AFP)


How Islamic State oil flows to Israel

December 3, 2015

enLogoOil produced by the Islamic State group finances its bloodlust. But how is it extracted, transported and sold? Who is buying it, and how does it reach Israel? 

See more at:

How Islamic State oil flows to Israel

By Al-Araby al-Jadeed staff

Date of publication: 26 November, 2015 

 

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